Cher Public

So near and yet so far

Anna YusifFor those homebody members of the cher public who don’t frequent such venues as Nagoya, Seoul, Taipei or Santa Monica, here’s an extended clip of what the recent concert tour by Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov sounded like.

  • EarlyRomantic

    Nowadays her pitch is Rysanek-level suspect. But I enjoy her newfound devil may care abandon to singing. I just don’t hear an Elsa in her, not at this stage. But how about Leonore/Fidelio?

  • Patrick Mack

    Um. She’s hooked her wagon to this guy’s star?

    • jackoh

      Well, she’s hooked her wagon to something that this guy has. I have no knowledge whether “star” is a good description of it or not.

  • aulus agerius

    I would say his voice was not the attraction; it was incidental.

    • Howling in Tune

      Wasn’t that really the case with Erwin as well?

  • Patrick Mack

    He no doubt has what my mother would refer to as ‘hidden charms’.

    • Camille

      Patrick dear —
      Doubtless, and that is not for the likes of us to know!!

      I have one little question for you — did you go to hear him as Canio in the L.A. Opera Pagliacci, or if you did not, did ANYONE?

      The reason I ask you is this: the sound is better, somewhat, in the theater that what one hears on these tinny recordings. Now, it was not the second coming of Franco Corelli — far from it — but he does have the ability to sing over a large orchestra and project out into the auditorium, plus, he seems to handle the stage business well and with what I imagine was minimal rehearsal and/or preparation, although Anna may have given him a few tips as to the Met stage, I dunno.

      Also, he is intelligent, forthright and seemingly sincere (always a difficult thing to ascertain, mah!), and seemed to me, in his bows at the curtain, to be genuinely humbled by the occasion and the honor of being allowed to sing at the Metropolitan Opera with his, admittedly, limited career.

      I mean, he is not to be so lightly dismissed, and know it is not a pretty sound nor particularly ingratiating to the ear, but he actually manages to survive in the live theatre fairly well, and he holds the ultimate trump card in his hands, literally and figuratively, so maybe we had better figure out a way of dealing with the fact he’s going to be around, and for a while.

      At least, these are my conclusions, after wrestling with this question from the first time I listened to that Manon Lescaut alla romana, and exclaiming (to myself) “WTF was THAT????”

      • mercadante

        I agree with your assessment. He’s got squillo and is not unmusical, and he seems to be a quick learner, his phrasing and delivery are becoming less provincial as he gets more upmarket assignments. He might turn into a useful spinto. Maddlena, however, is not Trebs role. Close but no banana.

      • Hard to argue that one. I tend to agree with you too. Honestly, I prefer him to Villazon and in some ways to Kauffman (so kill me).

        His singing is a throwback to the time when tenors used a more open emission, which sounds quite at home in this music. I have watched a couple of interviews with him and he seems to be quite a smart guy who has taken the chance to learn about his voice type (and at least what he thinks it is) and the great interpreters that he knows will be thrown against him. Unlike so many people who I went to school, who actually admitted never having heard a Caballe, Freni, Callas, Carreras or whomever yet they aspired to sing the roles they did so well.

        Personally, I do not find his voice ugly, but then again, I never was on the bandwagon with the Kauffman and Valenti party. Plus I think he photographs well, hell I would say he makes for a cute bear.

        • RosinaLeckermaul

          Kauffman and Valenti in the same sentence???

          • Yes, fans of this

            will obviously automatically love this:

            Lindoro is just doing his usual “I hate all singers more successful than me because obviously singing in a chorus in the Midwest trumps all” spiel.

        • Rackon

          I’ve been at the Kaufmann party for 10 years and Valenti ain’t here, nor is he ever likely to be. As for Mr. Trebs, while his sound hardly thrills me, there are possibilities there. He seems a work in progress to me.

      • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

        I just thought I’d mention that he is jumping in to the new production of “Turandot” at Wiener Staatsoper which opens soon, replacing Johan Botha who seems to be the latest addition to the list of singers with serious ailments. I’m very curious to hear what he sounds like live.

    • armerjacquino

      He wants to ease off on the slap- he looks a bit drag-king in that pic.

  • Camille

    Well, gentlemen,

    I think the thing is this: he is intelligent enough to learn, and he will be getting some breaks, undoubtedly because of his wife, which are not on a provincial level but important theatres, such as the Salzburg Festival, Berlin Unter den Linden, and die Feldmarschallin’s München Oper, all of which he is now scheduled to sing at with her (go see Operabase schedule), and he knows he has GOT to live up to a certain level to stay in that game, so, you know, because he does have a brain, I think he may benefit greatly from all these experiences and really turn things around. I don’t know, it’s just that I find him kind of interesting…how did this young, inexperienced guy seize the heart of the world’s possibly top diva; I mean, it’s quite a story.

    Anyway, she looks happy, and she certainly deserves to be as she has given a very great deal of happiness to countless others. That’s all I care about. And that he treats that little boy of hers very well and as a loving stepfather should.

    And Jungfer--I hope you are feeling better and I hope to god Botha gets better as it is a great loss if he is not able to sing on a regular basis. That Tannhäuser performance of his was just so gratifying after having only heard a few beknighted souls honk and sqwauk their way through that tortuous role. I went to as many performances of that Tannhäuser as possible as I’d never heard it sung so well and I KNOW I never will again, at this late date.

    • Don_Dano

      I had thought the entire Tannhauser in Chicago was about as good as the opera gets; not just Johan Botha. (I decided that night that I can enjoy Tannhauser, but maybe, I will never love it the way I love Lohengrin.)

      And I also enjoyed his Siegmund at the MET the year they retired the Schenk production as well.

      Basically, I too which him a complete and speedy recovery,

  • I love them, they are simple and humble, and you guys wrote nicely above, happy ending.

    • Good on you Maestro -- I agree. He’s not half bad at all -- some of the contributors are just being bitches :)

  • Constantine A. Papas

    Botha’s problem is his weight that impedes his vocal and physical stamina. He can hardly move on stage. Too bad. There are not too many tenors with this kind of voice.

    • Bill

      He is taking chemotherapy for cancer -- that is why
      he has been cancelling. I do not know what kind of
      cancer. Of course we all know he is heavy -- but
      he is capable of moving on the stage, Not every tenor can be Luis Lima.

    • Bill

      He is taking chemotherapy for cancer -- that is why
      he has been cancelling. I do not know what kind of
      cancer. Of course we all know he is heavy -- but
      he is capable of moving on the stage, Not every tenor can be Luis Lima. His Tannhaeuser was remarkable
      and despite his girth he has amazing vocal endurance.

    • PCally

      Constantine, I happen to agree without you completely about Botha. But I’m not exactly sure how that came up. The REAL issue is that he is seriously ill with cancer and has been undergoing treatment which requires him to cancel. I hope for his recovery, however long it takes.

  • I’ve heard other clips of his and rankly I don’t think he sounds that bad. He’s cute. He grows on you. He has good high notes. What more do you want?

  • armerjacquino

    I think he sounds terrific here, I’d love to hear him live.

    I love Netrebko but I’d agree this isn’t quite her music. In general I think the place where the Venn diagram overlaps the most for her is Verdi.

  • Here’s a youtube clip of them in Taipei. My cousin went to their concert and loves her him not so much.

  • Chenier631

    I heard Eyvazov at the Met recently as Calaf in Turandot.
    He has an interesting and unique sound, but I can understand why some people don’t like his voice.
    I enjoyed him, and he has rock solid, effortless high notes.
    I hope the Met continues to engage him. He is far better than certain other tenors they insist on hiring.


    • Krunoslav

      “I heard Eyvazov at the Met recently as Calaf in Turandot.”

      Me too. The experience took me back to one of my earliest Met performances, when I was in [metaphorical] pigtails:

      Metropolitan Opera House
      February 24, 1976

      NORMA {103}

      Norma……………….Montserrat Caballé
      Pollione…………….Bernabé Martí [Debut]
      Adalgisa…………….Shirley Verrett
      Oroveso……………..John Macurdy
      Flavio………………Charles Anthony
      Clotilde…………….Carlotta Ordassy

      Conductor……………Gianfranco Masini

      Caveat emptor.

  • tiger1

    Constatine, wouldn’t it be a nice gesture for you to apologize for immediately coming to the conclusion -- and publicizing it even -- that Mr Botha’s size is the problem when -- as has been widely published -- he is actually battling cancer?

  • jackoh

    I see that the discussion here has gone to an assessment and appreciation of the talented contributions of Mr. Eyvazov, as well it should. But I am surprised that no one among the erudite and literate group that makes up the members of the parterre box took the bait that wriggled at the end of Patrick Mack’s original comment. So allow me to quote the relevant passage from Keats (The Eve of Saint Agnes):

    Beyond a mortal man impassion’d far
           At these voluptuous accents, he arose
           Ethereal, flush’d, and like a throbbing STAR
           Seen mid the sapphire heaven’s deep repose;
           Into her dream he melted, as the rose
           Blendeth its odour with the violet,—
           Solution sweet

    • Or, to be more succinct and less poetic:

      Love is not only blind, it is also deaf.

    • armerjacquino

      Always nice to see some Keats, but Mr Mack was quoting Emerson.

      • jackoh

        But I prefer the insights of the deeper thinker

        • armerjacquino

          Well, of course that’s your prerogative. But it’s maybe a slightly odd course of action to express your surprise that the ‘bait’ of a Keats quote wasn’t taken when the phrase in question was adapted Emerson. The word ‘star’- which would seem to be the only connection between Mr Mack’s post and the ‘Eve of St Agnes’ quote- appears in quite a few poems, you know!

          • jackoh

            Oh, for christ’s sake AJ, release yourself from the strictures of pedantry and try to appreciate the wordplay and the references that give a humorous, if not enlightening, take on the topic at hand. You seem to think that I am mistaken or not aware in what do. I can assure you that that is not the case.

            • armerjacquino

              You seem quite cross. I’ve obviously missed something. Could you explain to me what the ‘bait’ was in Mr Mack’s post, beyond the word ‘star’? There’s more to wordplay than just noticing a word so you’ve clearly seen something I haven’t.

  • I like his voice. It’s just not a great voice, especially when compared to Netrebko’s deluxe instrument. It also has a bit of an out of control vibrato which probably plays better live than on recording. Loved Netrebko’s “Son io!” at the end.

  • Constantine A. Papas


    The last time I saw Bohta was 3 years ago; and he looked that he had gained weight. I wasn’t aware of his cancer. I’m sorry and didn’t intent to be mean spirited.

    • No matter what you say these days -- someone will always get precious and take you out of context because they choose to be offended. I saw Mr Botha and he certainly has a voice but he’s also so fat it has to be very likely that it does effect the voice -- in terms of mobility alone and breathlessness. It’s awfully sad that he has to contend with cancer as well -- I hope he gets on top of it and makes a full recovery.